Jill Valley

YELLOW BAY (KPAX) - Historic low water levels are impacting people who have cabins along Flathead Lake.

Rosemary Thurston and her family are like other Flathead Lake cabin owners; their boat sits just inches from the water — and that’s where it will stay.

“Because at this point even, we can’t get it out and if gets lower it will be even worse,” Thurston said. She added that she has never seen this situation happen before.
The Thurstons have had this property since the1940s and will still find a way to have fun on the lake in the short window Montana allows for summer fun.

Meanwhile, others are hard at work getting boats off the lakebed and onto trailers. Property owners will be facing some major, expensive changes to adjust if water levels continue to shrink.

“Well, if this is going to be the new normal, we certainly would have to make the tracks longer to get the boat out. And the dock would be way too high,” Thurston told MTN News. “So, you certainly would have to rethink the level of your dock. It involves a lot of cost to do all those things.”

The low water levels mean the Thurstons now have a newly exposed rocky beach where swimmers need to be careful about newly exposed rocks.

It's a situation that is happening all along the shores of Flathead Lake, leaving cabin owners wondering what’s next. We asked Thurston if people were tense about the low water levels that are being seen this summer.

“Well, I think we can all adjust for this summer. But if it’s long-term, it is certainly going to be an issue for everybody. I mean, all around the lake. It really brings climate change to the forefront. You know, reality.